With the big announcement having come and gone, Tim Raines has missed the call after appearing on the ballot for the seventh time. As always in cases like this, we question ourselves. Is Tim Raines truly a Hall of Famer? If we base this on the first half of his career, it ‘s pretty obvious he would be, but unfortunately, the final half of his career saw a decline. However, his career numbers are still very impressive and very Hall of Fame-worthy.
Between 1982-1987, there wasn’t a better lead-off hitter in the game (besides Rickey Henderson of course). In that span, “Rock” Raines averaged 152 games, 184 hits, 10 home runs, 58 RBIs, 34 doubles, 110 runs, 72 stolen bases, and a slash line of .310/.397/.449. Wow. The back end of his career really hurt him. From 1988-2002 (his final season), he averaged just 106 games, 100 hits, 7 home runs, 43 RBIs, 15 doubles, 60 runs, 21 stolen bases, and a slash line of .282/.378/.408. Not very impressive at all. Although you can make the case that he was one of the most effective hitters in the game up until 1987, many writers will look at his career as a whole. We will do the same.
For the sake of argument I will use Barry Larkin to compare to. Many people including myself believe Larkin is a clear Hall of Famer. Both Raines and Larkin were both great lead-off hitters. Larkin had a little more power but Raines had the speed. Let’s dig deeper. In his career, Tim Raines averaged 109 games, 113 hits, 7 home runs, 43 RBIs, 19 doubles, 68 runs, 35 stolen bases, and a slash line of .294/.385/.425. Barry Larkin’s career numbers on the other hand stack up like this. He averaged 115 games, 123 hits, 10 home runs, 51 RBIs, 23 doubles, 70 runs, 20 stolen bases, and a slash line of .295/.371/.444.
When you compare the numbers, yes, Larkin was better but not by a landslide. Larkin leads Raines by an average of just 6 games, 10 hits, 3 home runs, 8 RBIs, 4 doubles and only 2 runs while Raines is ahead of Larkin by an average 15 stolen bases and put up a very similar slash line. Barry Larkin has a slim edge on Raines and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2012, Larkin’s third year on the ballot.
As for Raines, he should be able to get in within the next few years and he should have no problem getting in before his fifteen-year limit is up. Let’s put it his way. Is Tim Raines truly a Hall of Famer? He certainly is, just more of a ninth, tenth, or eleventh-ballot Hall of Famer.